Annual Request: Draw Scales And Arpeggios In Key Editor

One should be able to draw a scale using the line tool

Similarly, one should be able to draw a chord arpeggio just by swiping the arc with the drawing tool.

IOW: You should be able to hold down a modifier key (alt or whatever) and then, USING THE MOUSE, draw scales or arps that conform to common maj, min, dim.

And to preempt the food fight that has -always- occurred with previous suggestions, I don’t give a crap about arcane scales. 95% of what people -need- are the basic maj, min, dim, aug. Let’s not let perfection be the enemy of practicality. You need some Romanian -whatever-, yer on yer own.

AFA identifying which scale, I guess it could follow that silly ‘chord track’… OR (better for me) I simply draw and then ex-post-facto, I right click and there’s a little menu of maj/min/aug/dim similar to the pitch correct plug-in which would massage the notes to the proper scale.

Now the -other- tricky bit is the note length. Basically I want the function to be ‘smart’ in the following, very easy to program, way, so long as we understand that the limitations.
#1. The note length can be a fixed function of the quantise. So no matter how ‘long’ the line, or the angle of the line, the notes are always 16ths if that is the quantise. ie. The drawn notes do NOT follow the angle of the line. Get it?

#2. Far more interesting/useful is the other option: the LENGTH of each note is a function of the distance of the mouse gesture (swipe). ie. Cubase ‘sees’ the length of the line and smartly draws in the notes of the scale to fill in the full length.

Two examples:

  1. I draw a line one bar long that traverses 7 scale pitches up from C to B. So the first 6 notes are 1/8ths and th last note (B) is a 1/4 note. Get it?

  2. I draw a line four bars long that traverses 4 scale pitches up from C to F. So I get 4 notes of 1 bar each.

    Now… even MORE useful is an option #2b. Where the created notes follow the quantise. So in the above examples:

  3. I draw a line one bar long that traverses 7 scale pitches up from C to B. So I get 16 1/16th notes. 2 Cs 2 Ds 2 Es 2Fs 2Fs 2As 4Bs. Get it?

  4. I draw a line four bars long that traverses 4 scale pitches up from C to F. So I get 64 1/16th notes. 16 Cs 16 Ds 16 Es 16 Fs.

    And the above magic would -also- work with arpeggios. ie. if I draw an arc, I get an arpeggio using the distance of the gesture to show the note lengths and overall ‘swoop’.

This feature would save me HOURS because it works the way I work with PENCIL. On paper I don’t screw with neatness. I do what Beethoven did in his sketchbooks–what EVERYONE in a rush does: I write these grand ‘swoops’ on the staff–just barely neat enough to know what I mean. I see the beginning and end of each ‘swoop’ and I know its a note group. And then LATER I clean them up. If I could afford a copyist? He/she would do that work. But I can’t. I have CUBASE. Which should be able to do the same thing. It’s total robot work.


  1. Cubase should be able to ‘see’ when I draw a swoop in the 1st vlns that I mean a broken arpeggio of 16ths.

  2. When I draw a big 45 degree line on a B3 or piano part, it should see that I’m doing a big ‘crush’ and fill in the notes for me.

  3. When I draw a gentle repeating arc on a harp line, Cubase should draw in the requisite cascading arpeggios.

These kinds of scalar and arp figures take FOREVER to ‘input’… especially in -today’s- music where an ostinati might go on for literally hundreds of bars with subtle changes (Phillip Glass/Action Movies). The amount of time I have spent drawing or playing in this sort of crap over the years? I could take a trip to Fiji. With a stopover in Tahiti. It’s COMPLETELY unnecessary. Cubase -already- has the ability to do what I request. No new ‘AI’ nonsense. It -already- can detect scales, determine note lengths, etc. They just need to DO THIS.

Cubase’s scale conversion could do with some love.

For Chord Arps why not just use the Chord Editing tab in the MIDI editor to pencil in the chords you want. Then have an ARP MIDI insert to audition. Once happy with the progressions Merge the MIDI event (include inserts).

The idea regards inputing with the mouse, right? Not editing after the fact?

imo, The feature request should be for the ability to quantize pitches to a selected scale or chord when drawing or editing notes.

The selected scale or chord should come from the current chord track chord/scale, or the scale or chord selected in the respective tabs of the midi editor inspector.

And, yes, the list should list appear in a drop down menu, with the common chords/scales listed first. That, to me, includes the greek modes, plus dim, augmented, and harmonic and melodic minor.

Long time request.

You can already input/draw chords with the mouse in the MIDI editor window. You are drawing block chords instead of ARP steps, but by auditioning playback with an ARP insert, you would yield the same result.

As for drawing scales (quantising pitches), that would be useful - In my experience this would still need editing after the fact as quantising often produces repeated notes. In a sense you can already quantise pitch and see how this would work:

  1. Enable MIDI Modifier insert set to C Major
  2. Create a 1 bar MIDI event
  3. Set grid to 1/8 notes
  4. Use line tool to draw in notes from C3 to C4

A Quantise Scale tab in the MIDI Editor would be great to avoid using modifiers.

Why are you debating this request? The functions you mention are well known, no need to reiterate them.

Heavily edited original request (actually just found an earlier year’s blather and re-pasted).

At the risk of sounding snippy, after so many years, I get tired of re-typing the same OBVIOUS suggestions. This one is a drop-dead no-brainer for anyone who scores. There needs to be a MUCH faster way to input notes… as scoring programs are finding out. We’ve been inputting notes like NEANDERTHALS for too long.

To be fair, Neanderthals did not have modifier keys. Those were introduced in 35,000 BC, iirc.

But extremely large schwanzstuckers. No need to learn to play rock n roll to get dates. Oh goodie: another naughty word that escaped the child-proof filters.